WellStar Working to Prevent Maternal Deaths During Pregnancy & Birth

WellStar Cobb, Douglas and Kennestone hospitals are partnering with a leading nurse association to improve the treatment of obstetric hemorrhage.

Courtesy WellStar Facebook
Courtesy WellStar Facebook
Patch Staff Report

WellStar is joining a multi-year, three-pronged initiative launched by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) to improve the treatment of pregnancy related complications. The first initiative focuses on improving the treatment of obstetric hemorrhage—one of the leading causes of death during labor and delivery.

AWHONN’s Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) Project has gathered 54 birthing hospitals in Georgia and New Jersey to assess and improve clinical practices.  Additional hospitals in the District of Columbia are expected to join the PPH Project later this year. Of participating hospitals, they had more than 125,000 births in 2012. A full list of the participating hospitals is available on www.pphproject.org.

“WellStar Cobb, Douglas and Kennestone hospitals are leading the charge for improving pregnancy and delivery care for women in Georgia,” Deborah Roegge De Vita, vice president, WellStar Women’s and Pediatric Networks, said in a news release. “We’re honored to participate in this initiative for improving health care for women and their newborns.”

Women in the U.S. experience greater risk of death from pregnancy-related complications than women in 46 other countries. While two to three women die every day in the U.S. from pregnancy-related complications, more than half of these deaths are preventable. Incidents of obstetric hemorrhage (or bleeding too much during childbirth) have increased in recent years along with an overuse of inductions of labor.

Research suggests that women who have inductions of labor have a greater risk of experiencing postpartum hemorrhage. Between 1999 and 2009, the number of women who received blood transfusions during and immediately after childbirth increased by 183 percent. African American women are disproportionately affected by birthing complications with three to four times more deaths than women of all other racial and ethnic groups.

“WellStar will help to identify clinical best practices for treating postpartum hemorrhage and work with national experts to share knowledge as part of the Postpartum Hemorrhage Project,” AWHONN’s CEO, Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN, said in the release. “Their participation is crucial for reducing preventable maternal deaths and making mothers and babies safer.”

Supported by a grant from Merck for Mothers, AWHONN’s Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) Project is designed to:

· increase clinician recognition of women at greatest risk of obstetric hemorrhage;

· increase early recognition of women who are bleeding too much;

· increase the readiness of clinical team preparedness to successfully respond to obstetric hemorrhage; and

· improve clinician response to obstetric hemorrhage.

Additional practice improvements will include identifying barriers to treating obstetric hemorrhage, sharing clinical best practices, and identifying how to more effectively implement similar improvements in all hospitals in the United States.


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